A First For Me! Alma Toile

I am on the lookout for an everyday blouse that can work for the office as well as being casual. The thing is I want a feminine silhouette. I don’t want a female version of a male silhouette, ie. a button-down shirt. After re-discovering Alma I thought “hmm, maybe that’s the blouse I’ve been looking for!” I turned to my sewing nut group on Facebook and the opinions were divided, either you loved it or hated it. One member showed me her three versions, including a dress variation, and one member offered me to buy her unused copy, which she had purchased when everyone was singing Alma praise only to realise it really wasn’t her style. I decided to give it a go. (and I feel really bad for buying an indie pattern second hand, I should support the indie designers myself, but my conscience is somewhat rested in the fact that my seller said she should have never bought the pattern in the first place).

Before Christmas I visited IKEA with the family for some needed shopping, I don’t remember what though. As we passed by textiles I grabbed a bolt of fabric and bought 8 metres of the Ditte fabric. Husband asked if I planned to make red dresses aplenty, but I had another plan. Cheap fabric for muslins! With cheap fabric and some 20 people pulling in different directions regarding the Alma, I made my first real muslin.

I started with my measurements. Of course. I took my high bust, full bust, waist and hip measurement and corresponded those with sizes

HB: 35”
FB: 36.5”
W: 30 “
H: 39.5”

Full bust and waist were a 10,high bust an 8 and hip a 6. I also looked at finished measurements which were, for the 8

FB: 38,5”
W: 34.5”
H: 40.5”

I decided to start out by cutting an 8 and adjust that in what could be needed, I suspected an FBA.


First attempt - front
First attempt – front

For my first attempt using a straight size 8. I sewed a 1 cm seam allowance as opposed to the 1.5 cm included. I stitched on side and basted the other, to see if I could get the blouse on without a zipper. I could. It took a bit of wiggling and I’m not sure how it will work with sleeves, but once I’ll get there I’ll test. Anything to avoid putting in an unnecessary zipper, right? I was quite happy with the fit in the front, the darts ended up in the right place and were the right width.


First attempt - side
First attempt – side

From the back and side you can see that there is a bit of fabric bunching up on my lower back (which I have no idea what it’s called in English, but I take it as a sway back adjustment. Correct?). I tried widening the dart, 0.6 mm (as that was easy to sew) on each side of the dart, making it 2.4 cm in total

First attempt - back
First attempt – back

Onto version number 2, same pieces, just a widened dart. Now, I should know that widening a dart by stitching over an already sewn dart is not a good idea, but I did it anyway. It helped pull some width in, but I’m not too pleased with the results.

Second attempt - side
Second attempt – side

It’s still a bit wonky and I think I would fare better grading the pattern to a six size at the hip and keeping the darts as are. I’ve always thought my bottom had a pear shape, but I guess not as my hip measurement falls into a smaller size than bust and waist. Granted, baby E has left some additional waist width, which I’m trying to reduce, so maybe I can get my waist down a little.

Second attempt - back
Second attempt – back


I think I’ll make one more muslin. For that I will make it a bit longer, one inch I think. And grade it down to a 6 waist down on the back bodice. The front bodice fitted nicely. With my being on a consumption budget, I need to plan my makes and make them fit.

This look can also work tucked in, I think. However, after eating a yummy dinner of bacon-wrapped chicken stuffed with cream cheese and sundried tomatoes, it wasn’t the most flattering look on me so I won’t share any pictures. I didn’t even take any.

I was prepared to do an FBA (I even found a Swedish tutorial covering FBA on the Alma, what are the chances?), but the consensus in the Facebook discussion was that if your whole frame matched up ie. large bust and broad shoulders OR small bust and narrow shoulders this blouse will look good on you. If you don’t (small bust/broad shoulders or large bust/narrow shoulders) it won’t. I can’t wait to get my hands on some fabrics and make the real deal!

Do you regularly make toiles or are they saved for “special garments”? Have I missed something crucial in toile making, if so, what?


8 thoughts on “A First For Me! Alma Toile

  1. i regularly make them. i think it might be worth trying an fba as you have a little bit of pulling between the bust points. maybe just 1/2″ each side (this is what i do). and yes that is a swayback!

  2. I’ too lazy to make muslins/toiles. I just take my chances, but on the other hand I never buy very expensive fabric…. 🙂 Good luck with your blouse! I look forward to seeing the real deal!

    1. I plan on making this blouse in a couple of versions, so I want to get the fit right and then just go with the real fabric. Unfortunately I have no fabric to work with at the moment, so I need some shopping before I can continue.

        1. I haven’t decided. It should be work blouses, right now for Spring/Summer. I will visit Stoff och Stil one of these days…

  3. I’ve started making toiles for most things, because I have to do so many adjustments. I also think you might need a small FBA. And I think you should go with a zipper, I’m fine without but only because my Alma’s have about 10 cm ease all over.

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